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Student Life

How to Fight College Student Burnout

July 29, 2021

Burnout in college as a student is a significant ordeal. And if you are a parent, mentor, or professor looking to find ways to help your students make the most of their college experiences without losing sight of what is most important, obtaining their degree, you have come to the right place. There are some great ideas below to help prevent student burnout.

Evaluate Course Load

One of the quickest ways to burn out in college, particularly as a new student, is to take too many courses at once. Perhaps it would be best to use this time to take a look at your student’s college courses and go over each and everyone together. Help your student determine which types of courses are needed to achieve their degree, and which are geared more towards their personal interests.

If you find that their major classes are the ones that are most challenging, it might help to limit those courses to no more than two or three per semester. You want to help them work towards getting their degree without having the experience become overwhelming.

On the other hand, if their personal interest courses require too much time, have them consider cutting back on those in the future and adding courses that will be less time-consuming. The ultimate goal is to balance courses each semester so that the student is academically challenged but also has enough free time to engage in other activities.

Ask for Help

If, after going through the course requirements, it becomes clear that the courses are needed, but they need help with the homework or concepts that are discussed in class, finding a tutor may be beneficial. Many colleges offer tutoring in a variety of subjects to help students become more comfortable with the subject matter. Making use of their available resources can make all the difference in alleviating burnout and getting good grades.

Another area perfect for getting additional academic support is for graduate school entrance exams. The most challenging tests tend to be for the sciences, medicine, and law. And while preparing for any test requires a certain level of dedication and commitment, MCAT tutoring, for example, can help provide the skills needed to get into the best medical schools.

Carve Out Self-Care Time

Another aspect of college life is that there are always so many activities to enjoy. From parties to conferences, and everything in between, having the ability to take part in so much often can seem like college students should stretch themselves to the limit to take advantage of the available opportunities.

However, learning to take care of themselves and their health is a major part of transitioning to being an adult. And one of the most vital aspects of this is figuring out which events and activities are most enjoyable versus those that provide mild entertainment.

Focus on helping them navigate this area by discussing which activities have provided them with the most information or closest friendships. Are there just one or two clubs that they tend to enjoy most? If so, perhaps they should focus their time on these events and meetings and only occasionally frequent others until they feel less burned out.

Get Into a Healthy Routine

Now that the core of college has been addressed, it is vital to take a look at the college student’s health. To prevent and recover from burnout, living a healthy lifestyle is a prerequisite.

Help them navigate better eating habits. And note, that does not mean all they can eat is a salad. However, having a few servings of vegetables and fruit instead of French fries can be a great start. Teach the importance of taking small healthy actions each day that can add up to a much healthier lifestyle overall.

And lastly, it is important to use exercise and movement to maintain health. There is no need to go to the gym every day. But trying to get in an extra ten minutes or so of walking a day can play a great role in helping them to feel better.

Working together with college students to find ways to prevent burnout can be key to helping them achieve success. Utilizing the above tips can provide a strong foundation for how to start to intervene if college life becomes too stressful.

Adulting Student Life

Overcoming the Challenges of Parenting While In College

July 28, 2021

While our kids are everything to us, it doesn’t mean that the world completely stops when our family grows. Parents still have hobbies, work, and some are eager to continue their education. If you are attempting to fit in schooling along with your busy family life, then you know all too well the struggles that can arise.

From finding the funds to pay for your education to finding the time to study, there is a lot to juggle, but it isn’t impossible. To help you out, we have compiled common challenges and how parents can overcome them.

Lack of Time

Poor time management can sink your educational career, and the fear of not having time to spare can stop some prospective students from even trying. Just remember that you don’t have to go to a full-scale university to get the schooling you desire.

Online programs are gaining major steam, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only can you learn everything that you would at a brick-and-mortar institution, but you can do so in your own home, on your schedule, and you get the chance to network with students around the world. Before you commit to a school, complete some research and find those that are flexible to your parenting needs and have the exact programs you are looking for.

You will really want to work on your time management during this period, as you never know what else life will throw at you. As adults, you may be faced with family and travel emergencies, or you may be selling your home for the first time, which requires some extra prep. All of these events can take time and be stressful, so you want to be ready. Cut yourself some slack and remember that you are only human.

Lack of Funds

Another challenge is learning how you can afford the cost of schooling while also raising a family. Just remember that when there is a will, there is a way, and although money may be tight, there is always something you can put to the wayside.

The best way to gauge how much money you have to spend on parenting and schooling is to create a budget. Take the time to notate all of your incoming funds and then think about every bill and recurring event that you pay for each month and determine what you can eliminate. Do you need to buy coffee and lunch every day, or can you make both at home and save money? What about all of those cable channels? Can you get rid of anything that you watch less often?

Also, remember that schooling is very important for the betterment of you as a person and the life you provide for your children, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask the school of your choice if they have grants for parents. You can also apply for government grants and look to local charitable organizations.

What to Do With the Kids

The other challenge is figuring out what to do with the children while at school or completing school work. You need to find a happy medium between giving school the focus it requires while also providing proper care for your family.

One option is to put your kids in daycare, preschool, or even a camp during the weekdays to keep them occupied. Now that pandemic restrictions are being lifted, there is a chance for kids to get together again and learn new things themselves while you are in class. Just remember to create a smooth transition for your kids by practicing your leaving routine of putting on shoes, gathering backpacks, and saying goodbyes.

When it comes to studying, you may have to get creative. One option is to create a designated study time when you and your kids can do your homework at the table all at once. You should also prioritize your assignments by doing the largest projects during the family study time and sneaking in smaller work when you get the time between your parenting duties.

No one said that parenting and going to school is easy, but it is possible. Follow the steps above and you can have a promising educational career while raising a family.

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Student Life

Smart Space-Saving Kitchen Organization Tips For Student Living

July 26, 2021

Whether you’re moving into your first off-campus apartment or returning to student dorms this year, being smart about space is a common skill students need to hone in their college years. Student accommodation is not known for being spacious or filled with storage facilities – particularly in the kitchen. However, if you’re a cooking aficionado, want to save money in college, or simply can’t bear to have dining hall meals for the school year, there is a way to overcome the challenge of smaller cooking spaces and still have your kitchen essentials – being smart about your kitchen storage. By getting creative and investing in space-saving essentials, your student kitchen can be an oasis of culinary adventures (or late-night snacking), without the clutter and mess.

Invest In Go-To Multipurpose Cookware

Versatility is key in small kitchens. Investing in a few high-quality pans that you can use for multiple recipes and cooking styles will see you through your college years, and if you’re lucky, even into your first apartment. The trick to choosing multipurpose cookware is to look at the reviews and the versatility. Does it come with a cover and enough depth to make a casserole as well as soup? Some pans now come with a removable handle, which is handy for stacking them and saving shelf space.

Utilize Your Cabinet Doors As Well As Cabinets 

An over-the-door organizer is cheap and great for using up that often-forgotten space behind your cabinet doors. From holding your makeshift spice rack at college to storing your cutting board or cleaning essentials, kitchen cabinet organizers are ideal for small spaces, and help you see what you have at all times – essential for those living on a college budget. You can also get one for as little as $14 (The Simple Houseware Kitchenwrap Organizer Rack) as seen in New York Magazine’s list of Best Kitchen Cabinet Organizers On Amazon.

Another useful hack: small cabinet organizers can also be handy for keeping your  fridge tidy and fresh. Use smaller baskets or cabinet organizers to organize your condiments, juices and vegetables into different sections. You can also get creative with it and organize your fridge according to meal ideas (breakfast/lunches/dinners) or according to food groups (meat/fruit/vegetables).

Magnetic Kitchen Wall Storage

Another great idea for organizing your kitchen in student accommodation is to use your kitchen shelves for double duty. One way to do this is to use a shelf for handing your pans or cups as well as storing pantry items. With the help of magnetic wall storage hooks and shelves, you can easily create a double-duty kitchen shelf without the hassle of DIY. This is a great idea to add extra storage if you have open shelving in your kitchen, and banish clutter.

Recycle And Rethink Your Old Jars

With a bit of warm water and dishwasher soap, most jar labels easily peel off, leaving you with well-designed, clear glass canisters. Fill them up with your pantry staples like rice, pasta and cereals. You can even make your own spice jars with smaller versions. Best of all, they cost little to nothing to do. You can even ask your family or friends to save you their jars if you want. When organized on a shelf, it helps you to easily see what you have, and still looks stylish.

Living in student accommodation can mean you’re short on space, but you can approach the problem creatively. With a few clever space-saving hacks and inventive gadgets, you can make your student kitchen an organized and well-stocked oasis of culinary adventures.

Student Life Transition

High Paying Jobs for Students With Loans

July 24, 2021

College is expensive, and there is no way around that. So what we find ourselves doing is taking out more student loans and graduating with more and more student debts. And the worst part is that some loans can take decades to pay off, which puts certain aspects of our lives on hold. 

However, some students can get rid of their student loans quicker than others based on their career choices. This guide will show you the best jobs that can help you pay off your student loan debts faster. 

  1. Physician 

It’s great to complete both an undergraduate program and medical school. But, unfortunately, physicians, anesthesiologists, GPs, surgeons, and other medical professionals can be saddled with massive student debts. 

Fortunately, most graduates of any of these programs can get a first-year salary of about $210,000. That can help you make significant improvements with your student loan repayment. 

  1. Analytics Manager 

Are you data-minded? You can put your skills to use as an analytic manager. To pursue this career, you must acquire a bachelor’s degree in statistics, math, IT, or other related fields. Data analysts help organizations and companies to make high-quality informed decisions based on statistical analysis. You can get between $80,000 and $90,000 a year. 

  1. Software Architect 

Software developers or architects are the geniuses behind your favorite computer programs and apps. If you have a knack for this career, you should pursue a computer science degree and specialize in development. 

You’ll need many hands-on experiences to secure a position in this field. So it’s advisable to search for internship opportunities while still enrolled in school. That can shoot up your chances of securing a job position. 

That’s why the competition between developers can be fierce, and their salaries tend to start just below $100,000.

  1. Air Traffic Controller 

It’s not a simple task to maintain the traffic flow around airports and throughout the world. However, air traffic controllers are the most detailed-oriented problem solvers, and they have excellent organizational skills. 

If you want to pursue a job in this field, you need to complete a bachelor’s degree program, including courses at the Federal Aviation Administration. Don’t worry about the extra schooling, though, as you may get about $110,000 a year. 

  1. Financial Manager 

If you enjoy managing money and working with numbers, you should consider acquiring a degree in finance. As a financial manager, you can help organizations, companies, and various people keep their economic lives intact. 

Financial managers produce and analyze financial reports, direct investments and can make about $115,000 every year. 

  1. Pharmacist 

Pharmacists work alongside doctors and patients to make sure that prescription medications are used safely. When you complete four years of pharmacy school and pass two license exams, you get your Pharm.D. From there, you can work at pharmacies located in health facilities, grocery stores, and drug stores and earn around $120,000 a year. 

  1. IT Manager Or Computer Systems Manager 

Information Technology managers or Computer Systems Manager assist in coordinating and directing computer-related activities. For example, if an organization needs a new computer system, the IT manager would coordinate everything. 

With a bachelor’s degree and a bit of experience, you can make around $125,000 a year. However, you can get more experience by taking internships while you’re in school. 

  1. Lawyer 

You can consider law if you’re not interested in any of the careers mentioned. Lawyers work with clients in both civil and criminal lawsuits in many different areas of the law. Depending on the area of expertise you choose, you can get between $80,000 to $160,000. 

Final Thoughts 

Student loans can be a huge burden to carry, which can leave you frustrated at times. However, one of the best ways to pay off your debts, besides public service loan forgiveness programs, is to get a high-paying job. Use this guide as a step in the right direction. If you don’t know what to do, we recommend talking to an expert to help you. 

Health Student Life

How College Students Can Utilize Telehealth in Post-Pandemic Life

July 22, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic was a terrible experience that most of us hope to never go through ever again. But while it was scary and sad for many, it also brought a few positive things to light, and the mainstream adoption of telehealth was one of them. This awesome technology offers many great benefits to those who use it, and in the college world, it can be a lifesaver.

Let’s talk a bit about telehealth, why college students should take advantage, and a few considerations to keep in mind along the way.

What is Telehealth?

In a nutshell, telehealth is a method of getting medical attention through your computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Due to its popularity, people can talk to just about any type of medical professional, from doctors to psychiatrists, for at least an initial assessment. From there, you will be advised if you need to go to an in-person consultation.

On top of speaking with a doctor, telehealth platforms also allow you to exchange information, including upcoming appointments and test results. All of this avoids extra visits to physical medical practices and emergency rooms so those who need the most help can get service without delay.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of telehealth is that it allows those in rural areas without a hospital nearby to get the same care that those in cities can access. This is a great benefit for college students as universities are spread all over the nation, with some more secluded than others.

Great for College Students

Beyond having almost instant access to medical care regardless of where you go to school, there are many other perks of telehealth for college students. For starters, even if you don’t have a computer, you can also chat with a doctor face to face on mobile devices, and you may even be able to do it from the school library. Even better, when you can skip the waiting room and go straight to the doctor, you may be able to fit in a session between classes.

When you are in college, it is all about the budget, and unfortunately, even watching one’s health is subject to how much cash is at hand. Luckily, as opposed to doctor’s visits that can cost several hundred dollars, a telehealth visit is often less than $20.

Telehealth is also exceptionally easy to use and takes a lot less time than the effort required to schedule a doctor’s appointment, drive to the office, sit in waiting rooms and make your way home. This is why many people avoid going to the doctor. However, you must get help if you have concerns, and this ease of use should make those in college more willing to reach out for care.

Considerations

While telehealth is an incredible innovation, there are some considerations to take into account when using the service. For instance, you can only accomplish so much over video, and if you have a more significant medical issue, you will still likely need to see a doctor in person which will take time and money.

College students also spend a lot of time looking at screens for classes and homework, and telehealth is just another screen. The issue there is that prolonged screen exposure without adequate breaks can lead to blurred vision and nearsightedness, so protect your eyes by taking breaks every 20 minutes to stare at a spot 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

Finally, just like any online activity, what you do with telehealth is subject to theft by cybercriminals, so never share your telehealth password and make sure to always use a secure connection in a library or your dorm room.

For many college students, telehealth is a godsend. Use this resource whenever you feel ill and get the attention you deserve.

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Student Life Transition

Should You Pursue a Postgraduate Degree?

July 20, 2021

After graduating, most students head into the workforce. However, some find themselves in a post-grad slump and rather than transition into the “real world”, they choose to study further. Education is never a bad thing, but there are times it may not be the right decision. If you’re thinking of pursuing a postgraduate degree, here’s what to consider.

5 Reasons Why a Postgrad Degree Makes Sense

If a postgraduate degree will support your career goals, pursuing it makes sense.

1.  It can give you an extra edge in the job market

When you first graduate, you’re competing against other graduates as well as more experienced players in your field. Completing a postgrad degree could give you a competitive advantage in the job market. 

2.  You want a higher salary

The average annual salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree is approximately $59,124 compared to $69,732 for someone with a master’s degree and $84,396 with a doctorate degree. 

3.  You want to specialise or improve your expertise 

An advanced degree is worthwhile if you want to improve your skills or specialize. Let’s say you did a general degree like business administration. Studying for a postgrad in finance or economics could sharpen your skills and boost your credibility.

4.  You aspire to a leadership position

An additional degree can improve your chances of moving up the ladder. Many C-suite executives have completed an MBA (Master’s of Business Administration). However, degrees in science and engineering are also popular among executives.

5.  Your profession values additional letters behind your title 

In certain professions such as the medical, academic, or science fields, a master’s, doctorate or PhD degree is highly valued. It may earn you more respect and make you more employable. In fact, the lack of an advanced degree could actually hold you back. 

4 Reasons you should not do a postgrad degree 

Furthering your studies is a huge investment of time and money. So, you need to be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Here are a few reasons not to do it. 

1.  You’re doing it for prestige

Be clear on why you want to further your studies. Is it to keep up with your peers or for prestige? If you see it as a status symbol, this is the wrong reason to pursue a postgrad degree. 

2.  You’re time poor

If you have found employment or started a family, you may not have time for studies. Attending classes, studying for exams, and researching and writing dissertations take a lot of time. Can you fit it all in? Rather than overstretch yourself, it may be best to postpone your studies until you have more free time.

3. You’re unsure of your career goals 

The average person changes careers 5-7 times in their lifetime. How confident are you that you’ll want to remain in your chosen field 10 years from now? If you’re unsure, it may be best to gain some work experience first and reevaluate your career path later on. Then you can select a course of study that better aligns with the new direction you want to take. 

4.  You can’t afford it 

If you relied on a loan for your bachelor’s degree, increasing your student debt to get a postgrad degree may not be wise. If you can’t afford it, don’t do it — at least not now. You can always pursue a postgrad degree later on when you are more financially secure.

Should you decide to embark on a postgraduate degree, GradGuard can help protect your tuition fees. Our tuition insurance will reimburse your college fees should you be unable to complete your studies due to a serious illness or accident. 

BIO: Deevra Norling is a freelance content writer. She’s covered topics such as entrepreneurship, small business, career, human resources, e-commerce, and finance. When not writing, she’s tossing balls on the beach with the four-legged fur babies she looks after as a professional pet sitter.

Student Life

Why Tuition Insurance is an Essential Consideration for College Families

July 19, 2021

For many college families, the expense of higher education is one of the largest investments they will ever make. With so much money at stake, it’s important for college parents to make  a plan for the unexpected, in case their student is forced to withdraw from school due to a severe injury or illness. 

What is Tuition Insurance?

For most of the 20 million college students and their families, the financial loss of an entire semester of college is a burden big enough to break the bank. Tens of thousands of dollars are on the line and college families are smart to consider purchasing tuition insurance before the start of the semester. Tuition Insurance provides a refund for tuition, room and board, and academic fees when schools may not in the event of a covered medical withdrawal. It’s not drop out insurance and students must completely withdraw from classes due to a covered injury or illness. 

College is a fun time to meet new people, create memorable experiences, and of course, learn. That’s not to say it doesn’t come without risks. Knowing some of the biggest financial risks will prepare you for the unexpected. 

Tuition Insurance: What’s Covered?

Tuition insurance may not have been essential for all families to consider 30 years ago, when college was more widely affordable and school refunds were more generous. But things have changed. Given the high cost of college and less generous refund policies, tuition insurance is an important benefit that colleges and universities can offer to protect their students. 

Coverage for Major Injuries and Illnesses, Including Covid-19

Even before the pandemic, ordinary medical conditions, not just Covid-19, are a source of large financial losses for both students and schools. GradGuard is the only major provider in the country to cover withdrawals due to becoming ill with Covid-19. 

The 2020 National Student Health Assessment from the American College Health Association data reveals some of the ordinary risks college students and their families face today, and the impact it has on degree completion:

  • Concussion: 2.2% 
  • Mononucleosis (mono): 56.9%
  • Stress: 43.7%
  • Death of a friend/family member: 40.5%
  • Influenza (flu) or flu-like illness: 50:4%
  • Orthopedic injury (broken bone, fracture, sprain, etc): 2.5%
  • Cold/virus or other respiratory illness: 42.1%

Many students arrive at college with on-going and chronic conditions that may interfere with their studies, such as anxiety and depression. GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance covers controlled pre-existing conditions for students who are medically cleared to attend school. 

Mental Health Coverage Included

Last fall, college families and experts alike were most worried about students becoming ill with Covid-19. This year, the focus is on how the pandemic has greatly impacted the mental health and wellbeing of college students. 

GradGuard became the first and only program in the country to cover mental health as a condition. The growth in student mental health concerns looms as another risk to the investments families make when paying for college. 

Among the troubling trends:
  • 2020 report by the American College Health Association found more than half of nearly 9,000 students surveyed experienced anxiety or depression
  • A nationwide study published by the Journal of Adolescent Health found that rates of moderate to severe anxiety and depression among U.S. college students rose substantially over the last few years — from 18% and 23%, to 34% and 41%, respectively.
  • 2020 survey by the American Council on Education found 68% of college and university presidents say student mental health and well-being is top concern

Room and Board and Academic Fees are Also Covered

Tuition Insurance covers more than just the cost of tuition. GradGuard’s plans can also cover room and board and academic fees. Most higher education institutions only provide a partial refund of tuition during the first five weeks of a semester, and virtually no schools provide refunds for academic fees or housing. 

Conclusion

More than 20 million college students are getting ready to head to campus in the fall. After an extraordinarily challenging year due to the pandemic, families are looking for ways to protect their investment from the unexpected. 

By working with more than 400 colleges and universities nationwide, GradGuard is able to offer students and their families comprehensive and affordable coverage for up to 100% of the cost of college including student housing, tuition and academic fees. Each policy also includes Student Life Assistance, which helps families through the logistics that may accompany an unexpected student withdrawal. GradGuard’s mission is all about helping more students graduate. With Tuition Insurance, students who are forced to withdraw are given the rare opportunity for a do-over

Major or chronic illnesses, accidents and injuries happen frequently, even to young and healthy college students. The good news is that college families can protect their investment in higher education by purchasing tuition insurance. Visit GradGuard.com/Tuition to see the plans available on your campus. 

Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Plan(s) underwritten by BCS Insurance Company or Jefferson Insurance Company. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of these plans. Plans include insurance benefits and assistance services. Contact AGA Service Company at 800-284-8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or customerservice@allianzassistance.com.

Student Life

Budgeting Tips for College Students

July 18, 2021

Budgeting can be a tough code to crack for anyone, including college students. That’s because it’s more than just writing a list of your upcoming expenses. It’s the complex art of tracking and managing your finances.

In this article, we are going to list down the different tips we have for college students on how to create a successful budget.

Differentiate Between Needs and Wants

The experience given by a couple of decades of adulthood is invaluable in determining what needs and wants are. However, college students don’t have that kind of insight yet. Some items can be easy to determine as a need: rent, utility bills, academic expenses. But what about the other things? Coffee, books, your weekly stress-relief party. Aren’t these things needs as well? Here’s a tip: list down all the expenses that will really put you in serious trouble. Unfortunately, unless you’re in the business of coffee retail, that might not include your latte runs.

Calculate Your Net Income

The next thing that you should determine is how much you’re earning. At the very least, you should ensure that it will be enough to cover all your needs. Otherwise, you will be forced to consider one of the three options:

  • Are there needs that you can live without?
  • Is there a way to increase your earnings?
  • Is there an item in your budget list that you can further reduce? For instance, you can save money on groceries by using student discounts, coupons, or buying generic brands.

List Monthly Expenses

Once you have made your calculations, you can then move on to create the outline of your budget starting with your monthly expenses. There’s no need to make your list look aesthetically perfect. Just make sure that you don’t miss an important item. It would be a shame to complete your monthly budget and forget to list down, say, your internet bill.

Organize Your Expenses into Fixed and Variable Categories

Expenses can further be organized into two categories: fixed and variable. As the name suggests, fixed expenses are those that don’t change (at least, very often). For instance, your tuition, monthly rent, and bills will remain constant until rates increase. Meanwhile, variable expenses are those that change rates frequently. These typically include your wants. For instance, you might have increased your clothing budget last month to make way for the restocking of your favorite online shop. That might mean that you won’t need to budget a lot for your clothing expenses this month.

Determine Average Monthly Costs for Each Expense

Finally, you’re almost ready to determine your monthly budget. This is going to serve as your baseline goal for your monthly income. Feel free to determine the average monthly cost for each expense. Why? That’s because even if you spend more for some of your variables during certain months, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t save for them during their “off-peak” months. Doing so will make “peak” months easier to bear.

Make Adjustments

Finally, don’t stop there. As we’ve mentioned above, budgeting is a complex art of constant tweaking and re-tweaking. Eventually, you’ll have to account for other finances, especially if you want to expand and increase the quality of your life. Saving is very important too. We recommend listing savings under fixed needs. You should account for your future investments as well.

There are a lot of things that you can experience while you’re in college. You should definitely make the most out of it, but there’s no need to go broke. Learning how to budget your finances today will also help you deal with the massive debt awaiting you after graduation: your student loan. Good luck!

Student Life

5 Student Discounts That Help You with Your Studies

July 16, 2021

Choosing to study is one of the best investments that you can make in your future. However, once you add up everything you might find that it costs a lot more than you had expected. Thankfully, there are some useful student discounts you can take advantage of.

Travel Discounts

It is common for students to get discounts on bus and train travel. This can be a life-saver if you need to travel to classes every day. Even if the full fare doesn’t seem all that much, it can soon add up if you have to make two or more trips each day.

This can also give you an incentive to explore the area if you have moved away from home to study. Getting out and doing some tourism near your new house can be a great way of taking your mind off exams, meaning that you have a better chance of keeping your stress levels low.

Learn a Language for Less

One of the most worrying things about moving abroad to study is the language barrier. If you decide to study in an English-speaking country and aren’t completely at ease with the language, it is going to make life more difficult for you in many different ways.

Instead of paying a lot for an English course, you can look online for tutors with a reasonable hourly rate. Book a block of lessons at once with Preply and you can get up to 15% off the normal price too. Use the 1-1 lessons to practice for your exams, for your future career, or for any other aspect you want to brush up on.

Pick Up Food Deals

Eating healthily on a tight budget is a big challenge for many students. It is easy to slip into bad habits by eating cheap, low-quality food that doesn’t give you all of the energy and good health that you need for your studies.

Take a look at your local supermarkets and restaurants, to see what kinds of student deal they have. For example:

  • Many give a 10% discount for students
  • But others go up to 30% or more
  • You might also be offered a good-value meal deal or some other special offer that makes it worthwhile

Books and Other Materials

One cost you can’t avoid is that of the books and materials that are needed for your studies. Depending upon the subject, this can add up to a huge amount, and that’s before you even consider anything you might want to read or do in your own leisure time.

Students are regarded as being highly sought-after customers of book stores and stationers, because of the number of purchases they make. This means that you might be able to pick up the things you need from these places without paying the full price. 

At Barnes & Noble you can also buy used books at a reduced price, or earn some extra money by selling your old books. 

Open a Bank Account  

You might not know that banks also offer special accounts to students. Student bank accounts typically don’t have a monthly charge and many don’t charge you for withdrawing money either. The big banks like to look after students, as they see them as being among their most valuable clients of the future, so you might also get a free gift or discount vouchers when you open an account.

Take advantage of the best student discounts like these to make your studies a little bit more affordable and enjoyable.

Student Life

6 Things New Grads Need To Know About Investing

July 14, 2021

It’s a thrilling feeling when you’ve got the job and the steady paychecks start rolling in after graduation. If you’re lucky, those paychecks cover more than just your essential expenses. With some extra cash in your bank account, you might be considering investing some of it. 

Before you rush off to buy some Dogecoin or AMC stock, here are a few things you could keep in mind.

Don’t wait for an emergency to think about an emergency fund.

Life happens, and it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. Before you invest, make sure you’ve built up some savings for just-in-case scenarios such as your car needing repairs or losing your job. There’s no magic number with how much to have in your emergency fund — it will depend on your specific situation and comfort level, but having money to cover three months of your expenses is a good starting point. A no-fee, high-yield savings account can be a good place to park your emergency fund.

Weigh paying off your student loans faster versus investing.

If you’re like most Americans, you probably left college with loans to pay off. You should definitely budget for your monthly student loan payments. But if you have extra money, you might wonder if you’d be better off putting that money toward your student loans or investing it. To help make that decision, look at the interest rates on your loans and compare them with what you think you’d make investing. Let’s say you think your investments could net you a 6% return and your interest rates on your loans are all less than 5%. Here, investing could be a better option for you, netting you more money in the long run.

Boring is OK.

If you only read Reddit and Twitter, it’s easy to get the impression that everyone is buying crypto and shorting stocks. And although you could see huge gains with a strategy like this, it’s risky — especially when passive funds, like an S&P 500 index fund, have consistently outperformed actively managed funds more than 80% of the time. Last year the S&P 500 index finished with gains of 16.3% and the Nasdaq composite, which features many tech stocks, saw gains above 40%. Past performance isn’t a guarantee of future performance, but a passive (and some might say “boring”), long-term investing strategy can pay off.

Never pass up a company match.

If you’re lucky enough to work for a company that offers a 401(k) match, be sure to take advantage of it before you pursue other investing opportunities. A 401(k) contribution match is essentially free money and who doesn’t want that? Here’s how it works. Let’s say you make $50,000 a year and elect to put 2% of your salary into your 401(k) — that’s $1,000 you’re investing. If your company offers a contribution match of up to 2%, they will add another $1,000 to your 401(k). That’s the easiest grand you’ll make all year.

It’s OK to start small.

You don’t need a lot of money to start investing. Many online brokers and investment apps make it easy to start small. Stash, Robinhood, and Acorns are three apps you can check out if you’re just starting. All three let you open an account with no minimum requirements and offer fractional share investing. Fractional shares are simply portions of a stock and allow you to buy into companies that might be out of reach if you had to buy an entire stock at the full price. For example, let’s say a stock is trading at $100, but you only have $5 to invest this month. You can use your $5 to buy fractional shares of that $100 stock so you’ll own 5% of one share of the stock.

Beware of fees.

With investing, there are quite a few fees you should know, including:

  • Expense ratio: A percentage of your investment in mutual funds, index funds, and exchange-traded funds charged annually.
  • Management or advisory fee: A fee paid to your financial advisor or a robo-advisor that’s typically structured as a percentage of your assets they manage.
  • Trade commission: A fee that’s charged when you buy or sell stocks. Fortunately, many investment platforms have dropped trading commissions over the past few years after Robinhood came on the scene offering commission-free trades. 

It’s important to understand and compare fees because they can affect your portfolio’s performance. Generally, you’ll find the highest fees with more hands-on investing options like using a financial advisor or buying mutual funds. 

Final thoughts

Whatever you decide with investing, you’ve got time on your side. Through the magic of compound interest, even a small investment today can compound and add up to something much more substantial in the years to come.

BIO: FinanceBuzz’sVP of Content, Tracy Odell, also held the same position at Student Loan Hero and has expertise in this subject, as well as all things related to college finances.